Our 10,000 mile trip
Heading for Torrington, Wyoming
On to Sturgis, South Dakota
October 16, 2000
We sadly said goodbye to Regina and Rex, Justin and Cody Bivens and headed to the Wyoming border. After being in my familiar territory of Colorado, we were now headed for Bob’s old stomping grounds. I enjoyed the fields of sunflowers and other neat crops. We also saw antelope and a dead skunk in the middle of the road. Bob said it was a “two striper” We left the smell behind and crossed the border into Wyoming. Skirted around Cheyenne and on highway 85 to Torrington to see Shirley and Larry De Vault. They had been our neighbors for a long time in Alaska and we were anxious to pay them a visit. We found their cute little place and were greeted with open arms and warm smiles. We jabbered for a few minutes, Shirley said she was so sorry that she had to rush her sister, Pauline to Cheyenn because she was very ill. We said we understood. Shirley was so anxious to see us and apologized for the short visit. We gave them big hugs and went on our way.
We followed 85 to Lusk. We stopped to eat as we had not eaten anything all day. I had Lemon Pepper Chicken. Cannot remember what Bob had. We decided to head on to Newcastle and stayed for the night. We stayed at the Fountain Inn.
Bob was anxious to see his daughter, Vicki Winsell and her family in Sturgis so we got an early start and on October 18th we were on Highway 16 to Custer, on to Rapid City and up to Sturgis.
Vicki, Brett and kids, Brechelle, Seth and Jayce were waiting for us. We talked and jabbered and talked and laughed and talked some more. We played cards and soon learned that Seth and Grandpa Bob were the best players. We went to Keystone and Hill City. Vicki and the kids took us to Mount Rushmore. The pictures I have seen did not prepare me for the gigantic figures carved out the side of a mountain. I am still in awe of the vision and obsession this man had to carve perfect images of such famous people. We had the best ice cream cone at a stand inside the building. We read all the history of this famous sight. It was a perfect day to sight see and besides we had grandkids to laugh with.
We ate at Alpine House in Hill City where they serve one item each night. It was packed. Next day we watched Brechell play basketball. My old headache returned. I could not find my camera!
That evening we went to Bretts uncles ranch. We saw lots of antiques left in fields and at a saw mill. Old cars and trucks and tractors left in beautiful medows. Old houses and old barns that saw a lifetime of wear from another era. Bob was in heaven with the antiques and I enjoyed the vastness of the beautiful meadows. The artesian well on the property flows year round. Such an interesting place. We both enjoyed the sights.
Vicki knew that Bob loves chicken fried steak so she made sure he got his favorite meal. It was delicious. We all laid around relaxing and next thing you know, Bob was snoozing. He woke up with pink finger and toe nails. I will never tell that Jayce was the painter!
Next day we went to Brett’s parents, Dorothy and Denny. She outdid herself and we ate until we almost burst!! Then we had dessert!! She served BBQed chicken legs, oven fried potatoes and beef roast with peas. The dessert was raisin bread, pumpkin pie, peanut butter cookies. We topped the evening by playing cards - and yes, Seth and Bob won again!!
The next morning October 23rd we said goodbye and hugged and hugged several times. We sadly left Sturgis waving goodbye out the car window. Was hard for Bob to drive with tears rolling down his cheeks. He (and I) had a good time with his grandkids and family!
We went through Alva, Wyoming where I spotted a sign that said Oster Ranch. My sister Elaine and Ted live in La Salle and their last name is Oster. No relation! On to Devils Tower, where the entire population of prairie dogs poked their heads up to say hi. I enjoyed this natures oddity.
On to Worland and a nice stop at Thermopolis at the Holiday Inn. The Safari Club Restaurant had every wild type animal mount. Very interesting history of the state with pictures on the wall. We topped off the evening with a dip in the mineral springs hot tub. We shared with other people from different states, that were doing the same as we - getting the traveling kinks out of our bones. We slept very well !
On our way the next moring, we stopped at huge Boysen Dam and enjoyed Wind River Canyon that Bob described the road as very deep and then very steep.
We stopped at Riverton where Bob built a home at one time, for his family. I had shirt-tail relatives, Uncle Don and Aunt Bobby to my kids who live outside Riverton. We called Don and Bobby Ryan and stopped and had a hurried visit as we were running out of time to get ahead of snow in Canada and Alaska on our way back home. Bob wanted me to see Yellowstone. I wish I could have stayed longer with Don and Bobby. They were my good friends and at one time my brother and sister in law. Jack Bateman, my kids Dad and Bobby were sister and brother.
Don tried to scare me with a rubber snake in the front yard. Ha-ha - Don!! This old Colorado gal, living in Alaska for years, never forgets to look down once you have “look for snakes” ingrained in your head by your Colorado mother who was terrified of snakes. She kept a hoe beside the door and hardly ever went anywhere outside without it. Once she spied a snake - whether it be a rattle snake, a green snake or a garden snake - they were dead! Chopped up in tiny pieces and then she dig a little ditch beside the pieces of a usually harmless snake - she scooped the remains into the ditch - covered it up and took the hoe and stomped down the dirt to make sure he would never scare her or terrorize her family again. We called it Mom’s Snake Dance!
Anyway Don Ryan - for a minute you did scare me! I smile because you were still up to your old tricks. Thanks for the smiles. So sorry we did not stay longer - I could have been there for days jabbering. But in the back of my mind I did not want to be driving through snow storms back to Alaska either. And I wanted to see Yellowstone. As we left Don and Bobby’s, we drove by the home that Bob built for his family. He said he thought it was bigger than that. Funny how things take on different prospective. I had left my jacket at Don and Bobby’s and they caught us on the highway and we got to have one last hug from them before we headed to Yellowstone.
The Grannie Annie series is written by a 47 year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski.Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.
Grannie Annie can be reached at anninalaska@gci. net
The “Grannie Annie” Cook Book Series includes: “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ on the Woodstove”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters”; and “Grannie Annie’s Eat Dessert First.” They are available at M & M Market in Nikiski.